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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 2 (2012 Deadline)

Mycota associated to native Hevea spp. in the Brazilian Amazon region

PI: Aristóteles Góes-Neto (Centro de Excelência em Bioinformática, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz--Fiocruz)
U.S. Partner: Priscila Chaverri (University of Maryland, College Park)
Project Dates: August 2013 to May 2016
This project expects to characterize the mycota associated to the socially important and economically valuable rubber trees in the Brazilian Amazon region. The project will focus on characterizing endophytic and saprophytic fungi that naturally occur in Brazil and compare to fungal diversity in another region of Amazon basin, the Peruvian Amazon region. The idea is to corroborate the hypothesis that suggest that fungal endophytes have coevolved with their host plants to protect them from natural enemies.
The endophytic fungi associated to native rubber trees occurring in the Brazilian Amazon region can be utilized in biological control of Microcyclus ulei, the agent of South American leaf blight which is the scourge rubber trees. This project can add more aggregated value to this important tree of Amazonian forests, reinforcing the necessity of avoiding the potential loss of useful biodiversity due to deforestation and expansion of agricultural and livestock breeding frontier in the Brazilian Amazon region.
Summary of Recent Activities
The project team headed by Dr. Góes-Neto carried out field trips to Caxiuanã National Forest and Tapajós National Forest for 10 days in late January 2015. Their main purpose was to collect visually healthy leaves and sapwood fragments from distinct native rubber tree individuals in these study areas. They collected leaves and sapwood fragments from 5 adult individuals in Caxiuanã National Forest and 5 adults and 5 plantlets in Tapajós National Forest. Subsequently, they isolated fungal endophytes strains in pure cultures and preserved the vouchers in the Culture Collection of Microorganisms of Bahia at UEFS. Sequences have also been uploaded to the National Center for Biotechnology Information GenBank. So far on the project, approximately 350 strains of endophytic fungi have been isolated and preserved (200 from Caxiuanã National Forest and 150 from Tapajós National Forest). In the next six months, Dr. Góes-Neto and his group will be performing gDNA extraction, PCR, sequencing, and molecular identification of the strains isolated from rubber tree individuals during their field trips.
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